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Breath, Eyes, Memory

Edwidge Danticat

Section Three: Chapters 24–27

Section Three: Chapters 22–23

Section Three: Chapters 24–27, page 2

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Summary

Chapter 24

Three days later, Martine arrives in Dame Marie, on the back of a cart pulled by two teenage boys. Grandmè Ifé grabs a broom to anchor herself, but Atie is nonplussed. Martine is glowing, thin but otherwise healthy. Though it is Sophie's duty to approach her mother, she does not trust her legs to make it down the stairs without slipping. Martine breaks the battle of wills by going up to Sophie and taking Brigitte in her arms. She tells Sophie that she could not find the words to answer any of her letters, but that she has come because both Grandmè Ifé and Joseph asked her to make amends. Martine tells Sophie that the two of them began badly, but as Sophie is now a woman, they are allowed to start again.

Chapter 25

Martine changes clothes and gives out gifts. She offers to move Atie and Grandmè Ifé to the city, but Grandmè Ifé is content with her land.

That night Atie remains in the yard, staring at the sky. Martine cannot sleep and joins her. After a long silence, Martine asks Atie if she remembers the unpleasant stories Grandmè Ifé used to tell them about the stars. Atie remembers their father's pleasant stories, and his grand promises for their lives, which have fallen short.

"We come from a place," my mother said, "where in one instant, you can lose your father and all your other dreams."

Chapter 26

With her children home, Grandmè Ifé attempts to get her affairs in order. In the morning, she and Martine obtain a deed from the notary dividing the Ife land equally between Atie and Martine and Sophie and Brigitte. On Sunday, they plan to go to the cathedral to make advance plans for a mass at Grandmè Ifé's funeral. Meanwhile, Atie is nowhere to be found.

After Atie's distance at dinner, Grandmè Ifé asks Martine to take Atie to New York, knowing that she stays in Dame Marie out of duty. But Martine has already asked, and Atie refused to go.

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